“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
~ Albert Einstein
So it’s come to my attention that many of you thought my last post was all about guns. I guess I’m not surprised. The title had “gun” right in it and I suppose I did mention guns a number of times. The mere presence of that word really gets people going, sort of like “abortion.” (Annnd now people are going to comment on this post on how I’m a baby killer.) In any case, I certainly learned more about guns in the 24 hours after I posted than expected. So thank you to those who sent me informational links to videos about guns and other news stories and to those who legitimately tried to help me sort it out, correct my terminology, point out misunderstandings.
I like learning. But some things were more eye-opening than educational.
Fair enough. Except for this part: I didn’t state any facts in my post. Never once did I mention AR-15, and I most certainly did not call it an automatic weapon, because until this week, I had no idea what an AR-15 even was. Now I do, so, there’s that. I am not a gun expert. I never claimed to be. I made it very clear I knew nothing about guns, but booooy did I enjoy shooting them that one time I shot them. I deliberately made sure the only facts in that post were the actual guns I held in my own hands at the range. And I won’t even pretend to understand what connection was being made in the second half of that comment, but it wasn’t a one I was trying to make.
Buuuuut, now that I know a little more about gun classification, I do feel qualified to say this: I could give two shits how guns are “classified.” Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug, while Meth classifies as Schedule II and we all know how much sense that makes. In case you’re not up on your drug schedules:
Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.
Marijuana in some form, is now legal in several states and medical marijuana has been a thing for quite some time. Apparently if you put the word “medical” in front of “marijuana” it’s magically less dangerous and more acceptable. And seriously, parents of America, would you be more upset if you found out your kid was smoking pot or smoking meth? Yeah, that’s what I thought. So, that’s how I feel about your government classifications.
Back to the original post. So I used the words “assault” and “automatic.” My bad, I seriously had no idea there was such a semantic war in the gun debate. What I should have said, in retrospect, is WHY THE NEED FOR THOSE BIG GUYS THAT HOLD SO MANY OF THOSE LITTLE GUYS THAT SEEM TO REALLY MAKE IT RAIN DEATH?
Did I put that in words we can all understand and agree upon definitions? To clarify:
BIG GUYS = large guns
LITTLE GUYS = anything shooting out of the big guys
MAKE IT RAIN DEATH = Make it Rain Death
Now, I am a word person. I (now) understand that gun terminology is a hot-headed debate, and for that I apologize. I was scolded for incorrectly using the word “assault” next to the word “weapon.” Apparently “those damn Dems” are using the words all wrong to induce fear and what have you. I actually get it, I understand the stance. Words are extremely powerful. (A serious thank you to Brian F – your Facebook messages were quite informative and helpful.) Honestly though, as someone relatively new to this gun conversation, I wasn’t trying to call anything that it wasn’t, and I don’t think my choice of words was all that out of line.
I am simple layperson, someone in the business of stringing words together in hopes of making people feel and think, definitely NOT in the business of tricking anyone into thinking anything. And there is nothing in those two definitions that makes me think, oh shoot, you’re right. Assault doesn’t really fit next to weapon here. Because I, like many other people across the world, consider anything used to purposefully kill people an “assault weapon.” That’s why I used the generic term “weapon.”
Because a weapon can be anything. Imagine substituting “gun” for something else. Remove that sensitive word from the equation. Replace it with literally ANYTHING ELSE. If people were entering rooms and slaughtering people in mass quantities with scissors before being stopped, I assure you, I would feel the same way about scissors. Scissors would be the assault weapon. But when it came to the necessity of scissors, at least you’d be able to give some valid reasons as to why you need scissors:
But, tosha, I cut hair for a living. It’s my livelihood. I’m a tailor, I cut cloth. Sometimes during the holiday, I admit, I use my scissors for pleasure, like cutting out pictures of snowmen with my children, and making daisy chains. But you know what? These scissors are killing people. I can find a way to live without them. Hey, maybe I can try to make it work with those round-tipped ones. Oooh, or the fun ones that cut shapes into construction paper.
And why did everyone assume I was reacting directly to Orlando? Maybe you’re glued to the TV reliving the terrible details of the massacre again and again, correcting the newscaster on their gun terminology and all the facts they got wrong. But I’m not. I heard the basics: A dude walked into a club and killed a bunch of innocent people dancing. Do I need to hear more? And yes, it may be the most recent “newsworthy” shooting, but it’s certainly not the only one still on my mind. They’re all on my mind. Every one. Just a few weeks ago, I witnessed my coworker slowly realize his brother was the sole victim in the UCLA campus shooting. His expression is one I hope to never to see again, yet there it is, forever burned into my memory.
America seems to be stuck in a tragic cycle of catastrophe, followed by a vicious defense of rights, sprinkled with go-to gun facts to counter any argument made, until enough time passes and emotions subside, but just until another tragedy strikes. We would rather argue over the definition of meaningless words than turn an internal eye on ourselves, because it’s easier than asking ourselves questions that challenge the beliefs we’re clinging onto for dear life. Don’t you see? I wasn’t referring to any one massacre, any one shooter, any specific blip in time. I don’t care what specific gun was used in Orlando. That’s why I never said a word about Orlando. I don’t care if it was an AK47, military grade, assault automatic bazooka Joe bubblegum. I don’t care if the words I used aren’t technically accurate. Because that’s not the point. I was attempting to paint a bigger picture, a picture of a huge forest with lots of trees. Yet for some reason, it was the tiny details I never even used that you focused on, that caught your attention. You saw the giant palm tree I never painted into my coniferous forest.
You filled details into the blanks I wasn’t leaving. You made connections that didn’t exist. You made points that I would never attempt to make. I try not to speak above my pay grade, above my knowledge base, which is exactly why I write about how I feel and the crazy thoughts running wild in my head instead of current events and factoids. I went to Journalism school and never became a Journalist for a reason. It’s not my thing.
So no. I wasn’t trying to challenge gun facts, argue politics, scare anyone with creative terminology. Because that last post wasn’t about guns; it was about you.
In case you missed it the first time…
I was just questioning how you could justify the right to possess weapons which seem to exist solely for “sport and entertainment,” OR, if placed in the wrong hands, to assault people in mass quantities.
(Side note: even when I separate “assault” from “weapon” the end result is the same: People are Dying.)
I was just curious, as to how you could justify the need for these weapons, weapons that have already destroyed so many lives, unless you are planning to destroy something, too.
I was just wondering how an object, a thing, a possession came to mean more to you than someone else’s daughter, son, mother, brother, sister, father. And I was wondering when that happened, when Your sport and entertainment, Your needs and Your rights became more valuable, more sacred than Life itself.
I got a lot of emails, comments, messages. But it was so weird.
Nobody answered my question.